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QZSS successor satellite set to launch Tuesday

October 20, 2021  - By

UPDATE: Because of bad weather, the launch is now scheduled for Oct. 26 (Oct. 25, 18:45 p.m. PT).


A successor to the first Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) satellite is planned for launch from the Tanegashima Space Center on Monday, Oct. 25, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Japan Standard Time (2-3 a.m. UTC).

Michibiki Unit 1 was launched on Sept. 11, 2010, and entered its quasi-zenith orbit 10 days later. QZSS began service in November 2018 with four satellites. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plans to have seven satellites aloft by 2023.

The satellite, designated QZS-1R, will be carried aboard H-IIA rocket No. 44. The QZSS launch will be streamed live. The broadcast program will begin at 10:35 a.m. JST.

Local launch times

Houston: Sunday, October 24, 21:00
New York: Sunday, October 24, 22:00
London: Monday, October 25, 03:00
UAE: Monday, October 25, 06:00
Singapore: Monday, October 25, 10:00

More information on the launch is available at the QZSS site and rocket maker Mitubishi Heavy Industries site.

To follow upcoming GNSS satellite launches, see our launch table, provided by Innovation editor Richard Langley.

H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 44 at the Yoshinobu Vehicle Assembly Building, JAXA Tanegashima Space Center. in preparation for launch of the successor to the Michibiki Unit 1 on Oct. 25. (Photo: MHI)

H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 44 at the Yoshinobu Vehicle Assembly Building, JAXA Tanegashima Space Center. in preparation for launch of the successor to the Michibiki Unit 1 on Oct. 25. (Photo: MHI)

Shinichi Nakasuka, professor at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Engineering and member of the Cabinet Office Space Policy Committee, released the following statement about the upcoming launch.

“Three years after the full operation of the four-machine Michibiki started in 2018, as the chairman of the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System Business Promotion Committee of the Cabinet Office, we strive to ensure the reliable operation and expansion of the use of this world-class system.

“I feel that high-precision positioning and two-way communication services in the event of a disaster, which cannot be achieved by GPS alone, are gradually taking root as social infrastructure. In modern society, the provision of highly accurate position and time is exactly the infrastructure that is indispensable as the ‘nerve network’ of society.

“To make that more reliable, the successor to the first machine, which pioneered this system, is about to be launched. We pray for the success of the launch and satellite operation, and hope that the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System will become more and more established in society, and that many people will be able to use this system for various purposes, including business.”

About the Author:


Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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